Romantic bars and restaurants in Manchester that are perfect for Valentine’s Day
From fine dining restaurants with views across the city, to intimate neighbourhood bistros and underground cocktail bars, if you're stuck for date inspiration this Valentine's we've got you covered.
With Valentine’s Day in Manchester fast approaching, the city’s restaurants and bars are turning on the charm to create some serious romantic settings.
With so many great restaurants, if you’re looking to take your other half out to eat you are quite literally spoilt for choice.
For those lost in a sea of menus and wondering where to book, we thought we’d help make things a little bit easier by recommending some of our favourite romantic restaurants in Manchester and a few other popular date night spots to help get you started.
Keep reading to discover our top picks for where to take your date in Manchester this Valentine’s Day.
Musu, Bridge Street
If you’re looking to impress your date with sleek settings, flawless service and a touch of glamour, Bridge Street’s latest arrival should be just the ticket.
New Japanese restaurant Musu offers a contemporary interpretation of Japanese dishes currently not seen outside of London, serving specially created 7 and 11 course tasting menus with wine pairings, as well as a traditional ‘chef’s choice’ experience at its six-seat Omakase counter.
The menu is divided into three sections – Sentaku, Kaiseki and Omakase – and diners can also order dishes a la carte style.
Drinks-wise, look forward to a mixture of classic cocktails, Japanese sakes and whiskies, as well as a specially chosen list of wines handpicked by house sommelier Ivan Milchev.
Climat, Blackfriars House
The recent subject of a rave review from Guardian food critic Jay Rayner, Climat might be a relative newcomer on the Manchester dining scene but it’s been a huge hit already.
Opened by the team behind the Michelin-recommended Corvena in Chester just before Christmas, it boasts a stunning wine list (the name nods to the importance of weather in creating incredible wines) as well as some reportedly ‘genius’ dishes on its menu.
Serving a mixture of small and large plates, it also has one of the best panoramic views of the city skyline – looking down across Manchester from the restaurant’s perch on Blackfriars, especially at sunset, is pretty romantic.
The Perfect Match, Sale
A charming little 26-cover bistro clinging to an A road in the south Manchester neighbourhood of Sale, it’s not just the name that makes this restaurant a perfect choice for a romantic date.
Serving up some critically acclaimed British and European food with a beautiful hand-picked selection of wines, find rich and comforting dishes like lamb ragu gnocchi, baked bone marrow with truffle, and 32-day dry-aged red Hereford beef on its regularly-changing a la carte menu.
As for pudding? Tuck into the likes of popcorn and white chocolate posset with salted caramel, or enjoy a peanut butter pie with candied peanuts and a warming glass of Pedro Ximinez.
Not many London brands successfully make the move up to Manchester, but one that has done it with aplomb is premium British steakhouse Hawksmoor.
It’s pricey but worth it, with a stunning wood-paneled cocktail bar (and mouthwatering bar of burgers and pickles menu) available next to the restaurant to help you get your date off to a flying start.
Serving the very best dry-aged beef, sustainable seafood and seasonal farm produce from the UK, steaks come out beautifully blackened and charred thanks to its Josper grill whilst sides are indulgent (typically laden with rich cheese, nutmeg and cream).
The aforementioned cocktail list is excellent, as is the wine list. All around a 10/10 spot with friendly service to boot.
The Sparrows, Green Quarter
If you’re a self-confessed pasta lover with no objection to stuffing yourself with carbs on Valentine’s, visiting Manchester’s newest addition to the Michelin Guide is an absolute must.
One of the best restaurants in Manchester by a long shot, it is run by a married couple – with Polish-born Kasia Hitchcock positioned out front and her chef-partner Franco Concli working away busily in the back.
Spatzle (pictured above) is the house specialty, said to mirror sparrows in flight – hence the restaurant’s name. It’s best eaten with a simple sauce of butter and sage, but there are numerous sauce options – plus countless European dumplings, a fine sake selection and an organic wine list.
The hushed, sleek interiors, meanwhile, will have you convinced you’re somewhere in New York – not on the back streets of the Green Quarter.
The Oystercatcher, Chorlton
A visit to The Oystercatcher requires a trip out to Chorlton, but it’s well worth it to taste some of the best fish on offer in the city – often chargrilled in the josper oven for added flavour.
Getting a good seafood menu together is challenging in a city as landlocked as Manchester, and the lists change weekly at the restaurant in reflection of this.
Oysters dressed with shallot mignonette tend to be a mainstay, whilst a sample menu lists the likes of black sea bream, scallops, monkfish, seabass, sea trout, mussels and crab.
Sides are ordered separately, with choices like fennel gratin, chargrilled broccoli, hispi cabbage, triple cooked chips and more.
10 Tib Lane, Tib Lane
With sultry low lighting, quality cocktails, £1 oysters and plenty of tucked-away seating spread over three floors, 10 Tib Lane could’ve been made for date night.
Serving a tantalising small plates menu alongside some beautiful low-intervention wines, its Cumbrae oysters with mignonette are a must-order to get your date night going.
Followed up with the likes of steak tartare, lamb sweetbreads, duck in port sauce, bone marrow and pommes anna, and charred hispi cabbage in shallot sauce, foodies should be in absolute heaven.
Another award-winning, Michelin-recommended eatery, this time from the team behind the Levenshulme (and now also Ancoats) bakeries, Trove.
Open Tuesday to Saturday, with its concrete floors and relatively sparse settings, it’s the food here more than the restaurant’s decor that makes Erst so romantic.
A love of fermentation and pickling has clearly passed from one sibling’s kitchen into another. Plates here are ordered to share, with a list of 10 to choose from.
Each designed simply to showcase the natural flavours of the produce, order as many as you can muster then tuck in with a good bottle of natural wine on the side.
Bar San Juan, Chorlton
This teeny tiny tapas bar in Chorlton is a treasured local gem, and for good reason.
Named Manchester’s Neighbourhood Venue of the Year at the 2022 Manchester Food and Drink Awards, this cosy little slice of Spain on Beech Road is as unassuming as it is full of European charm.
From the warmth of San Juan’s staff, for whom nothing is too much trouble, to its impeccable dishes, it’s easy to see how this cosy neighbourhood spot is so beloved. If you’re after an intimate date with top-notch food, you cannot go wrong here.
Ornella’s Kitchen, Denton
Home to some of the best pasta in Greater Manchester, you do have to schlep all the way out to Denton for it – but if incredible Italian food is part of your partner’s love language then trust us, it’ll be worth it.
By day, Ornella’s is very much a tiny deli cafe with room for just 12 diners at once. By night, the combination of the small space, low lighting and mouthwatering dishes make it a pasta lover’s paradise.
Dish-wise, think plump lobster ravioli, butter-drenched crispy sage and hazelnut spinach ricotta ravioli, and carbonara bucatini liberally doused in pepper and egg yolk, with crisp flecks of guanciale on top – all freshly made on-site by hand that day.
Edinburgh Castle, Ancoats
The Edinburgh Castle pub has stood in the heart of Ancoats since 1811 and is one of the area’s most popular hangouts.
Lovingly refurbished by the team behind Cottonopolis, it now has South African born chef Shaun Moffat at the helm overseeing some magic on its bar and restaurant menus.
Downstairs it’s all cosy pub vibes with a good pint of Guinness and outrageously tempting chip butties.
Head upstairs, though, and you’ll discover a beautiful modern restaurant with views across Ancoats and a gorgeous menu so committed to local produce that its chefs reportedly don’t even cook with pepper.
Flawd, Ancoats marina
Sitting right on the waterside next to Ancoats Marina, if good wine and small plates is your love language then Flawd is an absolute must visit – even if you just pop in for a glass before heading on for a swanky dinner elsewhere.
With views across the water, you’ll find a knowledgeable team pouring gorgeous low intervention wines in a casual but romantic, laid-back setting that feels more European than Manchester usually does.
Plates comes from acclaimed chef Joseph Otway, using their own organic produce grown on the team’s sustainable farm Cinderwood Market Garden in Cheshire.
Sterling, Spring Gardens
Nestled in an old bank vault in the basement of Gary Neville’s Stock Exchange Hotel, this swanky new bar from the accomplished Schofield brothers oozes charm and seduction.
With dark wood panneled walls, low lighting, sensory cocktails and table service, plus small plates to keep you going through the drinks, it’s a great place to enjoy some romantic drinks on a date – and there are even hotel rooms upstairs.
20 Stories, Spinningfields
It feels like this Spinningfields rooftop restaurant needs no introduction at this point, but we’re going to do it anyway.
A glamorous establishment with a huge, heated outdoor terrace, it sits right at the top of the No.1 Spinningfields building overlooking the swanky glass towers of the business district from its position on high.
Long favoured for romantic date night thanks to its breathtaking views of the Manchester skyline, this swanky restaurant’s menu is not to be sniffed at either with a selection of delicious modern British dishes on offer.
Evelyn’s, Northern Quarter
If you’re afterr more of a laid-back eatery with a casual setting, Evelyn’s is a great choice – offering a mixed menu of small plates that can be ordered to share or larger ones to enjoy alone.
A popular Manchester cafe by day, at night it comes alive in a whole new way, the restaurant lit up romantically with plants trailing down from hangers above your head.
Evelyn’s also boasts a ‘secret’ bar below, The Daisy, where you can sneak off with your date afterward to enjoy a few cocktails (or wines) in a romantic setting.
El Gato Negro, King Street
This AA Rosette and Michelin-recommended restaurant on King Street is a fail-safe date option in our (humble) opinion.
Serving up a mix of tapas dishes split into sections like fish and shellfish, meat, charcuterie, vegetables and para picar, tuck into the likes of Catalan bread, Padron peppers, salt cod croquettas and Morcilla scotch eggs.
Alongside a great wine and cocktail list, El Gato is also known for its sherry and vermouth selection – and both make a great complement to this style of dining.
For an ultra-romantic twist, if you love the idea of having a bit of theatre whilst you eat you can opt to sit at the chef’s table which faces directly into the kitchen.
Dishoom, Bridge Street
If you ask us, romance doesn’t have to be all white tablecloths and rose petals – sometimes it’s more fun to get stuck in and share a curry with your loved one.
Since it opened in Manchester with queues out the door, Dishoom has remained one of the city’s most popular curry houses whilst maintaining an elusive, sultry feel – thanks, in part, to its setting within the city’s stunning former Masonic Hall.
Nestle up in one of its many beautiful corners on Valentine’s Day, with walk-ins always welcome.
Where’s your favourite romantic restaurant in Manchester? Let us know via Instagram at @themanceats.
Feature image – 20 Stories